Divination Turtles

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Divination Turtles (rus sbal)

  • The concept of the divination turtle is to be understood on various levels. Firstly, the divination turtle of the natural state (gnas lugs rus sbal) refers to the emptiness or expanse of actual reality (Skt. dharmadhātu) in which all buddhas and sentient beings are fully present. The divination turtle of the material world (chags pa'i rus sbal), comprising the five elements, emerged from the divination turtle of the natural state, and from their contact the divination turtle of sentient existence (srid pa'i rus sbal), including sentient beings of all classes and the eight trigrams subsequently emerged. However, it was through the divination turtle of emanation (sprul pa'i rus sbal) that Manjughoṣa expounded the science of elemental divination at Mount Wu Tai Shan in China. Finally, the reliquary divination turtle (ring srel gyi rus sbal), also known as the divination turtle of exegesis (bshad pa'i rus sbal) or incision (bshas pa'i rus sbal) refers to the actual teachings of elemental divination which Manjughoṣa reputedly imparted to Brahmā, Vijaya, Nāgarāja Takṣaka, and Brahmāṇa Kapila at Mount Wu Tai Shan. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)